Simple Truths: Heart of a Caregiver

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“Every day thousands of unsung heroes bring


compassion to the lives of millions. Their names are never featured in the headlines, but our world would be a much darker place without them.” — Charles Devlin

T a b le of Co n t e n t s 4 INTR ODUCTION 10 Humilit y 2 6 E m pat h y 4 6 C o m f o rt 64 Generosit y 80 Kindness 98 Encouragement 1 1 6 C o m pa s s i o n

the heart of a caregiver


Most of us at some point in our lives experience what it’s like to be a Caregiver for a limited time. . . caring for a small child or a family member who is either sick or is recovering from an accident or surgery, or helping with the care of an aging or disabled loved one. During such times we begin to understand the physical demands and emotional strains related to the constant CARE of another individual. It helps us gain valuable insight into the level of patience, compassion and dedication required from the special people who make the choice to commit their lives in service to those who are hurting, to those who need comfort and encouragement and to those who need compassionate loving care 24/7. This book is written as a tribute to all of those with the Heart of a Caregiver, those who have made the choice to serve others and to be a “healing presence� in our world. . . the professionals in the healthcare field . . . the nurses, CNAs, and other personnel in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice care, etc. . . . as well as the multitude of husbands, wives, adult children and others who find themselves in a position of CARING for loved ones in their homes. 4

The hours are long and exhausting. The work is hard and neverending, and there is personal pain and sacrifice involved in CARING. This is where true Heroes are found. “True heroism is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to SERVE others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe There is nothing to compare with the Beauty and Significance of this HEART that gives so unselfishly in service to others. If you are a Caregiver . . . Thank you for making a difference in the lives you touch.

“To make a difference is not a matter of accident . . . People CHOOSE to make a difference.” — Ma y a A nge l o u


T he Heart of a Caregiver by Paula J. Fox

In the world of pain and suffering, true heroes can be found . . . providing special comfort and relief. They choose to make a difference, regardless of the cost . . . always willing to help others in their grief. It’s hard to persevere at times A Caregiver’s job is tough! It takes extra strength and courage to get through. But God designed a HEART for them to handle every challenge . . . so they can DO what others cannot do. He made this HEART much STRONGER just to handle all the weight . . . of the many heavy burdens it must bear.


And He covered it with SOFTNESS to help cushion all the hurt . . . with Empathy and tender loving Care. He also made it FLEXIBLE to bend but not to break . . . when things don’t always go the way they’re planned. And it had to be SELF-HEALING when hurtful things are said . . . by those who just don’t seem to understand. He gave it more RESILIENCE to bounce back and not get crushed . . . when disappointment battles against hope. And He knew a SENSE OF HUMOR would be needed every day . . . to give laughter and provide the strength to cope.


He made it with a battery that never does run down . . . for a Caregiver’s day will never end. It just keeps going . . . and keeps going, always one more thing to do . . . with another crisis just around the bend. And of course, this HEART’s an upgrade in so many other ways . . . He made it Kinder . . . more Unselfish than the rest. With more Patience . . . and Compassion and a Love that never ends. Compared to all the others . . .

it’s the BEST! 8

“After the verb ‘To Love’. . .

‘To Help’

is the most beautiful verb in the world.” — Bertha von Suttner


the heart of a caregiver


. . . is the Core Quality in the HEART of a Caregiver, the natural inclination to consider others first, and to want what’s best for them. The one who chooses this life of Serving and Caring for others follows the example of Mother Teresa, who was admired by the world and served the poorest of the poor . . . not with a “poor me” attitude . . . but with great Dignity and Joy. If you are a Caregiver, you too have this beautiful Servant’s Heart. Your deep desire to help others is at the core of your being and defines who you are. Instead of focusing on yourself, you are focused on the needs of those around you and are always looking for ways to help. Sometimes the patients you serve are easy to love and bring you joy. Other times, you may be called upon to help those who are difficult and have no appreciation for the service you give. Those patients are often the ones who need you the most. As a Caregiver, you are up to this challenge because you have chosen a life of Giving . . . a life of Serving . . . a life of Loving even the unlovable. You have a Heart that CARES. 10

“Serving others is not a job for the weak. It takes individuals with great STRENGTH, fortitude and self-sacrifice to wear the garment of Humility. That’s why we call them HEROES.” — Paula J. Fox


His name was Jason, and he was about six foot five with a powerful presence but a gentle countenance. He had been a nurse for 15 years, and there was a definite difference about him . . . a level of compassion and care that was above the norm. The thing that stands out in my mind is the way he demonstrated a sensitive servant’s heart every time he walked into the room with a PAUSE to deliberately acknowledge the patient as a person of value. This simple act spoke volumes. I wrote this poem as a tribute to all the “Jasons� in the world, both male and female, who give such compassionate care!



servAnt’s Heart by Paula J. Fox

With his long blonde hair in a ponytail he was muscular and tall. When he first walked in, he just didn’t fit my image of a Nurse at all But this gentle giant had a Servant’s HEART and I soon began to see He was a picture of compassion and kindness and as skilled as a Nurse could be There was something special about his manner that showed dignity and respect He cared for the person inside the body with a heart and a soul to protect He entered the room which was sterile and cold but he brought in a warmth with him Introducing himself, he smiled at his patient and PAUSED before he began He called her by name and looked in her eyes taking time to really see beyond what was wrong with her physical body to what other needs there might be 13

As he PAUSED, he folded his hands together leaning forward as if to say (with a very slight bow in his body language) “I’m here to SERVE you today” He took a minute to listen to her allowing her voice to be heard validating her worth as a person giving Strength without saying a word I watched what transpired in that moment of time as he gave her his focused attention Expressing such genuine care and concern he relieved her apprehension I could see her heart begin to relax when she knew she could trust in his CARE He eased her mind with his comforting presence in the very brief time he was there What a special lesson I learned that day from this kind and compassionate Heart. Just a simple PAUSE . . . to show you care makes Nursing a beautiful ART!


“Nursing is an Art . . .

And if it is to be made an Art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work. For what is having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts . . . I had almost said . . .

The Finest of Fine Arts.” —Florence Nightingale


A ll are significant

by Joann C. Jones

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one . . . “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely!” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. ALL are Significant! They deserve your ATTENTION and CARE, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


“Give everyone you meet the Triple-A Treatment: Attention, Affirmation, Appreciation.” — John C. Maxwell


“There are two types of people . . . those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am!’ and those who come in and say,

A ‘ h, there you are!’” —Frederick L. Collins

W hen god

created nurses . . . Author Unknown

When the Lord made NURSES, He was into his sixth day of overtime. An angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order? “A NURSE has to be able to help an injured person, breathe life into a dying person, and give comfort to a family that has lost their only child . . . and not wrinkle their uniform. “They have to be able to lift three times their own weight, work 12 to 16 hours straight without missing a detail, console a grieving mother as they are doing CPR on a baby they know will never breathe again. “They have to be in top mental condition at all times, running on toolittle sleep, black coffee and half-eaten meals. And they have to have six pairs of hands.” The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands . . . no way!” 20

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord, “It’s the two pairs of eyes a NURSE has to have.” “That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. The Lord nodded. “One pair that does quick glances while making note of any physical changes . . . and another pair of eyes that can look with empathy on the patient who is hurting and say, “I’m so sorry you’re in pain, but I’ll be right here for you.” “Lord,” said the angel, touching his sleeve, “rest and work on this tomorrow.” “I can’t,” said the Lord, “I already have a model that can talk to a 250-pound grieving family member whose child has been hit by a drunk driver (who, by the way, is laying in the next room uninjured) . . . and feed a family of five on a nurse’s paycheck.” The angel circled the model of the NURSE very slowly . . . “Can it think?” she asked. “You bet,” said the Lord. “It can tell you the symptoms of 100 illnesses; recite drug calculations in its sleep; intubate, defibrillate, medicate, and continue CPR nonstop until help arrives . . . and still it keeps its sense of humor. 21

“NURSES must also have phenomenal personal control. They have to be able to deal with a multi-victim trauma, coax a frightened elderly person to unlock their door, comfort a murder victim’s family . . . and then read in the daily paper how NURSES are insensitive and uncaring and are only doing a job.” Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the NURSE. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.” “That’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.” “What’s the tear for?” asked the angel. “It’s for the times when it hurts to be a NURSE . . . for the pain of a Caring Heart that aches for a patient that can’t be cured, or cries with the one who has experienced loss. It’s for the heartache of trying in vain to save a patient who dies. “But it’s also a tear of joy for the times when miracles happen . . . and for the times when being a NURSE means making a real difference in someone’s life.” “You’re a genius,” said the angel. The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said. “It comes from the HEART.” 22

“To do what nobody else will do . . . in a way that nobody else can do . . . in spite of all that we go through . . . is to be a NURSE.” —RAWSI WILLIAMS RN, BSN, CQRMS-LTC


“Our job as Nurses is to cushion the sorrow and celebrate the joy while we are just ‘doing our jobs.’” — Christine Belle, RN, BSN